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Archive for the 'Collection Watch' Category

Collections Watch: The Auteurs World Cup

A World Cup final between China and India? It’s happened!


India vs. China — It’s ON!

But not in the sport of soccer. In 2008 and 2009, the popular film-geek website The Auteurs created a Cinema World Cup, which was designed to increase awareness of the cinema being produced around the globe.

It kicks off in September with 32 teams, separated into 8 groups of 4, from which the top 2 in each group have qualified for the last 16. Each team has had a manager making the selections. In each match 3 films are paired against an opponent. Results are decided by the voting preferences of Auteurs users: to vote you must have seen both films in each pairing.

That’s a great idea! Check out this lineup for the the quarterfinal match between Spain and Italy (not just a soccer classic):
El Sur (Erice) – La Strada (Fellini)
Los Olvidados (Buñuel) – Umberto D. (De Sica)
Arrebato (Zulueta) – Salò (Pasolini)

Italy went on to win this encounter 2:1. Boo! There was flopping in the penalty box.

I’ve not been able to find any information on a 2010 version of the event, but user mandarkzilla has created a very useful public collection at Criticker which joins the participating films. Take a look! Voting has been closed for awhile and the results are known, but this is a good way to (re-)introduce yourself to some classics from every corner of Earth.

Collection Watch: Existential Films

Existentialism. A “philosophical attitude … that stresses the individual’s unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for the authenticity of his or her choices”. Championed as a philosophy in the postwar years by Jean-Paul Sartre, existentialism was seized upon by a generation of film makers, who strove to capture the essence of the human experience on screen. Themes such as mortality, solitude and anxiety are the hallmarks of existentialist films, as troubled characters search for the meaning behind our presence on Earth.


The loneliness and mystery of existence got you down? Get violent.

Frederic_g54 has created a collection of existential films, and defines them as “Philosophical films that deal with human existence and speak to the human condition, films where characters face an existential crisis, ultimately making you reflect upon your own life.” Though it currently numbers just 43 films, it’s one of the more popular collections at Criticker. The collection is public, so if you know other movies which could be added, don’t hesitate!


Sonos Wireless Music Player

Collection Watch: AFI’s Top Ten Fantasy

In 2008, the American Film Institute released a set of 10 Top Ten lists, celebrating the best American films in the most important genres. Criticker user Cuculiza has been gathering the entries in a series of collections, such as the one focused on AFI’s Top 10 Fantasy Films of all time.

King Kong (1933) Harvey (1950)
The Wizard of Oz (1939) Big (1988)
The Thief of Bagdad (1940) Field of Dreams (1989)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) Groundhog Day (1993)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947) The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

It’s apparent that an effort was made to honor films from a variety of generation, though the 30s and 40s are particularly well represented. Half of the honored films come from those two decades alone. But it’s difficult to take beef with any of the selections, all of them landmark motion pictures that every cinema fan should be familiar with.

Can you guess which is the one Criticker users most loved? Lord of the Rings! Surprising to me. The least loved was Big — not so surprising.

I would have liked to see more modern films chosen, such as Being John Malkovich. What do you consider the most glaring omission?

Collections Watch – AFI 100

One of the more popular functions of Criticker’s Collections is to gather lists that various other organizations compile. In 2007, The American Film Institute (AFI) released a revised version of its Top 100 American Films of all time, and Criticker user PeaceAnarchy has gone to the trouble of creating a collection to gather them all.


Spike Lee’s joint made the cut

How many have you seen? With the functionality at Criticker, it’s a simple matter to sort out all those you’ve not yet ranked, or order them by your PSI or year.



Collection Watch: Merrie Melodies

Few things bring about a sense of nostalgia quite like the classic Merrie Melodies. To help us on our trip down memory lane, Spunkie has created a collection full of them.

Merrie Melodies was kind of a cousin to Looney Toons. Both owned by Warner Brothers, the two series shared the same cast of characters (Bugs, Porky & Daffy among them) and even the same animators. The only way to distinguish between them was often the logo at the beginning of the short.

The characteristic feature of Merrie Melodies, as opposed to Looney Tunes, was that it was conceived as a way to promote WB’s feature films by incorporating a show tune into the animation. This restriction, though, annoyed animators and was soon forgotten about. Extremely popular with the public, Merrie Melodies would run from 1931 to 1969.

There are well over 200 Merrie Melodies, though the collection only currently numbers 38. If you’d like to add more, feel free! The collection is public, which means other users can contribute.

Collection Watch: Australia

Quick: Name a film set Down Under. And not the one that stars Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.

Not so easy, huh? But luckily for us, Criticker member djross is a good Aussie, and has decided to shine the spotlight on his homeland in a collection of films set in Australia.


Australia: Chock Full of Bad Asses

From Picnic at Hanging Rock to Lantana, this collection is filled with quality. And aborigines. And drag queens. Check it out and if you can think of other films set in the land of Oz, feel free to add them to this public collection.

Public Criticker Collection: Australia


Collection Watch: Making Of…

Many behind-the-scenes full-length documentaries about the process of assembling a film are mere love-ins during which the cast & crew blather on about how “brilliant” and “fun to work” they all mutually are. I recently watched such a featurette on the Changeling DVD, during which Angelina Jolie and Clint Eastwood practically gave each other a tongue bath, so effusive were they in their praise of one another. Nothing about the filmmaking process, just endless slobbery proclamations of what a mastermind he is, how strong she is, how funny he is, how friendly she is, how… slobber, grunt, hump, schlick.


Terry Gilliam and Johnny Depp: not about to give each other a tongue bath

But it doesn’t have to be like that! Thanks to user Moribunny, there is a collection dedicated to “real” making-of films. These documentaries truly attempt to shed light on the process of the craft, and some manage to be even more entertaining than their subject. And at least one concerns a film that was never even completed: Lost in La Mancha about Terry Gilliam’s attempt to bring Don Quixote to the screen.

The collection is public, so if you know other great making-of documentaries to add, go for it!

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